Review: The Memory of You

Synopsis:

Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?
When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.
And Natalie never says no to her father.
Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.
But finding freedom from the past means facing it.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Memory of You by Catherine West is a haunting read. One that breaks my heart. Losing a sister is like losing half of oneself. Readers can easily relate to the main character’s pain. Now, that same character has to return home. It is there that I followed Natalie Mitchell to where she grew up…her grandfather needs her. Despite all the dark and nightmarish memories of what home brings to Natalie she still makes her way back there. I loved that about the main character. She was brave and loyal. My heart tore at her pain as the story continued. Mesmerizing and engaging to read.

The Memory of You takes readers to California. There I got to visit a family owned winery. That’s the full focus of Natalie’s pain. Loss, grief, and heartbroken. Complex, intriguing, and entertaining. This was the first novel I have read by Catherine West. I definitely recommend it to readers worldwide. Adventure, family, and an emotional journey waiting to be read by all. 

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Review: The Girls by Emma Cline

 

Synopsis:

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960’s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon Evie, is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.

Emma Cline’s remarkable debut novel is gorgeously written and spellbinding, with razor-sharp precision and startling psychological insight. The Girls is a brilliant work of fiction.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Girls by Emma Cline…is indeed a sensational hit. From the first page readers like myself are hit with a strong intensity to know what’s to come of the girls. Including the one that is telling readers about them. Curiosity prickling my mind. The main character, Evie Boyd, makes the girls she sees like an exotic painting that to others can be too bold while other would stare at it with an awe. Evie Boyd is in held in awe of the girls. Something deep lured her straight to them. An imaginary magnet that constantly pulled her to them. So many real life issues were woven into this story. An average girl failing her parents. No raw talents. No exotic beauty. Plain, short, and simple. Parents divorced. Neither seems to notice their daughter and when they do, she’s only a disappointment to them. Sensing that doesn’t help a person achieve anything.  A father with a younger woman who came back wearing the lipstick that belonged to Evie’s mom. A mother going through changes so rapidly that her daughter hardly knew what her mom did when not around her. Then the group of girls that belonged to a cult…were like air that Evie so desperately needed. They caught her attention and dragged her into a world sadder than the one she already knew.

Emma Cline’s writing is superb. It transferred me straight into the life of Evie Boyd. Everything that happened to her felt like I was her. The emotional toll is deep. A thought provoking novel that silently sends messages to its readers. What not to do and how time can go by faster than people thought. Realistic portrayals of life’s issues with the family and teens is strongly evident here.  Growing up…like Evie Boyd did…was like growing up alone. Isolation instantly felt and brought on by her parents. Her lack of abilities and plainness drew Evie into a world none of hope to find. The sighting of the girls brought her mind swirling with more questions than answers. The way the girls presented themselves drew Evie’s divine attention. But like the saying goes…curiosity kills the cat…so too, will Evie’s curiosity plunge her into a darker world. I loved reading every moment of this coming of age story. The Girls by Emma Cline overall, is a must read for all. Once readers read this book, there’s no turning back. I highly recommend it to all.

Review: Red Flags (A Kate Reilly Racing Mystery)

 

Synopsis:

When Kate Reilly arrives in Long Beach, California, a week ahead of the Grand Prix, she’s immediately plunged into a new social scene―as well as a murder investigation. Her cousin Billy is found dead, with Kate’s card in his pocket. The cops want to know why, and sponsors and race organizers―anxious to keep racing’s image clean―want Kate to investigate. Doubting she can solve another murder, especially that of a relative she despised, Kate reluctantly agrees.

At the same time, coaching a gorgeous and talented actress for a celebrity race brings Kate into the orbit of Hollywood’s hottest bachelor. And then a local FBI agent takes notice of more than her driving and sleuthing skills. She goes from Sony Studios to Venice Beach and from Rodeo Drive to the Hollywood Hills, attending parties, power-shopping, and dodging unwelcome paparazzi. Kate’s ballooning media exposure generates national commentary, testing her composure and forcing her to get ahead of the stories―whether critical or flattering.

Kate’s professional dreams are also coming true. The upcoming Grand Prix is her first race with a new sponsor that’s also funding an Indy Car test drive and a ride in next year’s Indy 500―along with future possibilities in NASCAR. The downside? New sponsor Frame Savings is owned by her family, and its management, outside of her long-estranged father, is unfriendly to her…even rivalrous.

Kate must stay on her toes as the Long Beach race weekend begins. She’s negotiating the next steps in her career, driving two racecars and coaching a third, discovering more about the disreputable members of her father’s family than she wanted to know, and juggling questions and suspects. On the track, red flags fly to warn her, of danger. Off the track, Kate struggles, to interpret warning signs and stay out of a killer’s grasp.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Red Flags by Tammy Kaehler is absolutely thrilling! I finally found a novel that brings the popular event such as race racing to life. The way this tale is written, it’s exciting and the most intriguing one I have read yet. Tammy Kaehler brilliantly brings readers car racing, murder, and a mystery. One young woman is tested on her dream career, family, and relationships. I found this tale super exciting, heated, and dangerous. The danger never stops when one is being targeted by everyone especially the sleuth…

Inside Red Flags, readers get to meet Kate Reilly. She’s the one woman sleuth that will become everyone’s new favorite. She loves car racing and solving mysteries. When Kate arrives to enter in for car racing…her least favorite cousin is found dead. Next thing she know…she’s driving multiple cars and trying to solve a case. But the danger is real and just getting started. The press is not helping Kate Reilly’s case or the load that she’s already carrying on her shoulders. She finds out more things than she expected that involves her family and the world of racing. Then there are men who want her attention. Can Kate Reilly solve the case, juggle everything, and come out alive? Tammy Kaehler is talented in writing the best detective mystery ever. I was instantly taken into her world of fiction and never wanted to leave…Overall, I highly recommend Red Flags to readers everywhere.

Review: Parched

 

Synopsis:

The sun has become a ‘red giant’ and the world is hot and parched. In California, James and Lexie Deforio have three goals: to find food and water, to survive another day, and to protect their two children. When their home is abruptly robbed and burned to the ground, the family is forced to embark on a cross-country journey in search of safety and water.

Facing ruthless bandits, murderers, and some of the most extreme conditions they have ever encountered, they struggle to survive. When James is shot trying to help another family, Lexie and her children set out on a harrowing journey to save him. Finding temporary safety in the abandoned Ohio salt mines deep under Lake Erie, they appear to have found a new home. But, like everything on their journey, not all is as it seems.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Imagine the world we know turning into nothing but a hot deserted land where the sun is red, and the heat is scorching your skin. This is where readers are taken and will meet a family so like our own. They battle every day against the unrelenting heat that reaches above 95 and with only 3 gallons of water and canned food, they must survive. This family composes of a father, mother, son, and a baby girl as well as their dog. A truck comes bringing water for families to take. Then disappears after thirty minutes time. At night, that’s when the worst danger comes…each night checking to make sure everything is locked up properly and set-up so that you can tell if an intruder comes into the home will set readers hearts into a panic. No electricity, no water, and food that comes from a can. Robbers, despite people, and an unbeatable heat will soon cause this family to leave in search, for food, water, and safety. Parched by Andrew Branham is a must read for readers worldwide. A tale that carries the worst nightmare of all for humanity. Here readers will follow a family’s struggle to survive where water is the most valuable asset to have. I loved reading this novel. Andrew Branham’s talent with words will show readers how hard life can be  and the dangers that come with it. The story brings suspense, fear, and an intensity that will keep readers sucked into its pages. A sad and heartbreaking survival story that readers will love. Overall, I highly recommend Parched to readers everywhere.